been following the debate in the senate for us. how does austerity look for ordinary italians? >> the big weakness of this budget is it puts off some many of the cuts and tax increases until 2013, 2014. that is not coincidental. there is a general election in june 2013. all of this will have to be done by the next government. in the meantime, there is going to be a gaming tax, increased health charges, cuts in pensions, but only for the highest pensions -- and in italy, pensions are pretty generous. this is not a budget which in the short-term is going to lead anybody into destitution. >> in other news, syrian pro- democracy activists say government forces have killed at least nine people as protests against the president continue.